Competency mapping identifies an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. The aim is to enable the person to better understand himself or herself and to point out where career development efforts need to be directed.
Competencies are derived from specific job families within the organization and are often grouped around categories such as strategy, relationships, innovation, leadership, risk-taking, decision-making, emotional intelligence, etc.
So far as the way to go about for competency mapping is concerned, the first step is job analysis, where the company needs to list core competency requirements for the job concerned. The next step should be development of a competency scale for the job on the parameters previously identified.
The actual mapping of employees can be a self-done exercise or done by others like superiors. It can also be done by using the 360-degree method where peers, first reports and customers also rate the employee.
The steps involved in competency mapping with an end result of job evaluation include the following:
(I) Conduct a job analysis by asking incumbents to complete a position information questionnaire (PIQ). The PIQ can be provided for incumbents to complete, or you can conduct one-on-one interviews using the PIQ as a guide. The primary goal is to gather from incumbents what they feel are the key behaviors necessary to perform their respective jobs.
(II) Using the results of the job analysis, you are ready to develop a competency-based job description. This is developed by carefully analyzing the input from the represented group of incumbents and converting it to standard competencies.
(III) With a competency-based job description, you are on your way to begin mapping the competencies throughout your HR processes. The competencies of the respective job description become your factors for assessment on the performance evaluation. Using competencies will help guide you to perform more objective evaluations based on displayed or not displayed behaviors.
(IV) Taking the competency mapping one step further, you can use the results of your evaluation to identify in what competencies individuals need additional development or training. This will help you focus your training needs on the goals of the position and company and help your employees develop toward the ultimate success of the organization.
Methods of Competency Mapping
It is not easy to identify all the competencies required to fulfill the job requirements. However, a number of methods and approaches have been developed and successfully tried out. These methods have helped managers to a large extent, to identify and reinforce and/or develop these competencies both for the growth of the individual and the growth of the organization. In the following section, some major approaches of competency mapping have been presented.
1) Assessment Centre
“Assessment Centre” is a mechanism to identify the potential for growth. It is a procedure (not location) that uses a variety of techniques to evaluate employees for manpower purpose and decisions. It was initiated by American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1960 for line personnel being considered for promotion to supervisory positions. An essential feature of the assessment center is the use of situational test to observe specific job behavior. Since it is with reference to a job, elements related to the job are simulated through a variety of tests. The assessors observe the behavior and make independent evaluation of what they have observed, which results in identifying strengths and weaknesses of the attributes being studied.
a) A job analysis of relevant behavior to determine attributes skills, etc. for effective job performance and what should be evaluated by assessment center
- Techniques used must be validated to assess the dimensions of skills and abilities.
- Multiple assessment techniques must be used.
- Assessment techniques must include job related simulations.
- Multiple assessors must be used for each assessed.
- Assessors must be thoroughly trained.
- Behavioral observations by assessors must be classified into some meaningful and relevant categories of attributes, skills and abilities, etc.
- Systematic procedures should be used to record observations.
- Assessors must prepare a report.
- All information thus generated must be integrated either by discussion or application of statistical techniques.
Data thus generated can become extremely useful in identifying employees with potential for growth. Following are some of the benefits of the assessment center:
- It helps in identifying early the supervisory/ managerial potential and gives sufficient lead time for training before the person occupies the new position.
- It helps in identifying the training and development needs.
- Assessors who are generally senior managers in the organization find the training for assessor as a relevant experience to know their organization a little better.
- The assessment center exercise provides an opportunity for the organization to review its HRM policies.
Assessment Centre is a complex process and requires investment in time. It should safeguard itself from misunderstandings and deviations in its implementation. For this, the following concerns should be ensured:
- Assessment Centre for diagnosis is often converted as Assessment Centre for prediction of long range potential.
- The assessors’ judgment may reflect the perception of reality and not the reality itself.
- One is not sure if the benefits outweigh the cost.
Assessment Centre comprises a number of exercises or simulations which have been designed to replicate the tasks and demands of the job. These exercises or simulations will have been designed in such a way that candidates can undertake them both singly and together and they will be observed by assessors while they are doing the exercises. The main types of exercises are presented below. Most organizations use a combination of them to assess the strengths, weaknesses and potential of employees.
a) Group Discussions:
In these, candidates are brought together as a committee or project team with one or a number of items to make a recommendation on. Candidates may be assigned specific roles to play in the group or it may be structured in such a way that all the candidates have the same basic information. Group discussion allows them to exchange information and ideas and gives them the experience of working in a team. In the work place, discussions enable management to draw on the ideas and expertise of staff, and to acknowledge the staff as valued members of a team.
Some advantages of group discussion are:
- Ideas can be generated.
- Ideas can be shared.
- Ideas can be ‘tried out’.
- Ideas can be responded to by others.
- When the dynamics are right, groups provide a supportive and nurturing environment for academic and professional endeavour.
- Group discussion skills have many professional applications.
- Working in groups is fun!
To decide the competencies for the position they’re assigned to according to their ability & skill
Identifying the location in which the competencies need to work at the position in the organization structure, defining the relationships with the superiors & subordinates, etc.
To identify the tasks that need to be accomplished, & to identify the objectives of the function and the unit or the section where the position is located.
It is a certain function of identifying the skill & the potential for growth. It uses a few methods to evaluate employees for human resource and manpower purpose & decisions
Critical Incidents technique
A process of systematically identifying the behaviours that contributes to the success or failure of the competencies in specific situations.
Interview Techniques Competency Mapping
Every organization has different techniques of interviewing the competencies as a part of competency mapping.
A certain technique that is followed by the organization that prepares a list of questions that the users would fill in a return.
The sole focus of psychometric assessment is that many organizations use as this part of the selection process, where there’s a natural wariness about the unknown.
Building Competency Models
For building competency models, there are three ways in which the models may be developed:
Behavioral Indicators: By behavioral indicators, it describes the behaviors, thought patterns, abilities and traits that contribute to superior performance.
Evaluation of Competency Levels: For building the competency model, it is very much required to set exceptional competencies of high performers as standards for evaluating competency levels of employees.
Competencies Describing Job Requirements: When the organizations are having multiple competency models, this approach is useful. The competencies required in a particular job are described and job specific competency models help in structuring focused appraisal and compensation decisions.
- Aids the organizations to increase their standards of production and work style.
- Avails the organizations to align their key strategies across different departments to have common objectives and accurate results.
- It helps in understanding the scope & the requirements of a specific role.
- Establishes expectations for performance at different positions of the organizations.
- Forms an accurate work & job satisfaction for employees.
- Growth in the effectiveness of training & development as its main motive is to succeed with more efficiency.
Disadvantages of Competency Mapping
- It can be out of a date at times because of its inevitable change of pace in the organization.
- Sometimes, it’s of less use if the organizations don’t respond properly.
- No room for an individual to work in a field that would best make use of one’s own competencies.
- Can be difficult for employees to transform, few can be good at theory and few can be good at practices. If there is a change in the work of the competencies, the work can be less productive.